The Tuna Festival in General Santos is one of the anticipated events in the Philippines every September. And as much as I want to eat only tuna sashimi in the comfort of my home, I know there’s nothing more special than the ones you get from GenSan City; especially if you want to share a nice plate of tuna with your loved ones.
That’s why Cafe Ilang-Ilang at The Manila Hotel gives everyone a chance to feel the festivites from the Tuna Capital of the Philippines and have a gastronomical experience with the various delicacies that they offer for September; for there’s no one can do Tuna Festival better than the Manila Hotel.
We had a chance to feast our tummies out with their dinner selections, and every 18 food stations have curated tuna specialties that suit every nationality and fit everyone. The diversity and mix of flavors of their tuna delicacies are bound to be a hit for all buffet lovers and healthy conscious.
I prefer my tuna raw and freshly cooked. I tend to puke a bit when people overcooked tuna or when the tuna is dry. Good thing that Cafe Ilang-Ilang’s line of tuna delicacies is well-fit for my taste…but not all of it I suppose.
Let’s start with my favorite dishes. During our dinner, I went to my favorite food at Cafe Ilang-Ilang: Japanese food. They have the variety of tuna sashimi I crave for a long time. The station has the best sushi and tuna in town, and Manila Hotel surely knows how to serve its fresh tuna very well. I went many rounds for their tuna sashimi.
Since it’s a tuna festival, it’s easy to keep track of their different tuna delicacies. From their appetizers, I enjoy the taste of their Tuna Ceviche with Avocado, Spicy Tuna Spring Rolls, Tuna Cottage Cheese Sandwich on Rye, and Tuna Empanadas. They were served fresh and hot and it didn’t hit any “umay” taste on my end. The Tuna Ceviche (also known as tuna kinilaw) has a spicy, ginger kick to it; but it has the mild and creamy texture from the avocado. This became one of my favorites.
Main courses hit differently when they have tuna in them. From Korean, Italian, and Middle Eastern station, they have tuna dishes that will surely hit well for people who wants to eat less meat. They also have Tuna Halal dishes for our Muslim brothers and sisters.
The dishes that caught my attention were the Tuna Salpicao and Tuna Pizza. Tuna Pizza is a new favorite of mine because it is served fresh and savory. It is best to ask the chef for a hot batch of pizza for better quality. There’s something about cold pizza that ruins tuna’s texture for me. The Salpicao, on the other hand, tastes the same when I eat pork or beef. It is a bit dry for my taste, but it doesn’t have the “umay” feeling when I eat poor-quality tunas.
What I don’t like on their menu is their Tuna Salad with White Beans and Tuna Whanja. The taste of Tuna and White beans just doesn’t sit well with me and it kind of gives me some ick feeling. Tuna Whanja on the other hand is a bit weird for my taste buds. I just don’t get what are the ingredients of the dish and it tastes a bit different for a Korean dish.
I end my buffet journey with a cup of their famous cappuccino and I can attest that Manila Hotel has the best coffee in town. What a perfect way to end the night with good conversations with friends and their famous dessert station.
Overall, I still believe inin the magical, nostalgic, and historical feel Cafe Ilang Ilang can offer for everyone. From their fantastic food station and great service, Manila Hotel serves a 5-star food experience that only they can offer. The tuna festival delicacies are worth recommended for health watchers and tuna lovers and the price is quite reasonable for the quality and service you will get.